Summer surge of patients
HEATHCOTE Health’s emergency department is increasingly under siege during the summer period.
Presentations have jumped every year — from 141 to 156 throughout the last three Decembers, and from 117 to 139 over the past three Januaries.
In contrast, presentations were as low as 85 in July and September of 2015, and 105 in May of last year.
Similarly, the number of hospital admissions in January rose to 28 this year, after just 18 in the previous two Januaries.
The surging demand on emergency care at hospitals through summer is a statewide trend.
Heathcote Health clinical care director Gerry Canny said the summer was always a busy period for the hospital.
‘‘December and January are always traditionally among our busiest months, both in terms of presentations to our Urgent Care Centre and also admissions to our hospital beds,’’ Mr Canny said.
For all of Victoria there has been a 24 per cent increase in the number of patients presenting to the emergency department over summer.
Health and Ambulance Services minister Jill Hennessy said Victoria has never experienced such demand on its health system, and that health professionals are treating and caring for more patients than ever before.
LOCAL church groups came together on Thursday for the monthly community lunch.
Heathcote Anglican church joined the Uniting church for a cold meat and salad lunch.
‘‘The tables were beautifully set with white cloths and decorations in the centre,’’ Louise Joy said.
‘‘It was such a pleasant atmosphere and a delicious lunch.’’
‘‘There is always good variety when everyone brings a dish and we had fruit salad, cream, ice cream and apple crumble for dessert.
A gold coin donation was asked to cover the coffee, tea and milk.
‘‘We noticed the basket going around had plenty of notes in it which showed the appreciation of everyone there,’’ Ms Joy said.
Next month’s meeting will be held on Thursday, March 2 from 12pm to 1.30pm at the Uniting church.